My Cup of Shakepearean Goodness Over-runneth.

6 Apr

Right now, as a Shakepearean fan girl of long standing, my cup not only over-runneth, it is in distinct danger of flooding every damn thing within reach.

A couple of weeks ago the news came out that Benedict Cumberbatch would be playing Hamlet at the Barbican in London next year.  When I saw the start date I damn near hyperventilated.  I WILL BE IN LONDON WHEN THE PLAY STARTS.  I will be busting my butt to get a ticket.  Hamlet is one of my favourite tragedies.  I try to see most productions I can access, be it live or on dvd.  I am jealously guarding a dvd of David Tennant’s performance that I managed to obtain a few months ago.  The idea of Benedict Cumberbatch in the role of the doomed Danish prince makes me drool.  I am sure he will be fantastic.  He has the brooding looks I associate with Hamlet, and frankly, the thought of that dulcet baritone delivering Shakespeare’s most famous monologue is almost enough to make me declare Benedict my most favourite Hamlet without even seeing the show.  However, I am not a critic from a dodgy newspaper, so I will wait until I have seen the production to make such a pronouncement.  Besides, Benedict has big fish to chase down and beat.  Sir Derek Jacobi for example.  The aforementioned David Tennant.  I even have a soft spot for Mel Gibson’s Hamlet.  The Oedipal angst of his performance, with Glen Close as Gertude, was mesmerizing.

Then came the news last Friday that Martin Freeman will be playing Richard III this summer in the West End.  No chance of seeing that, but a small, faint hope that maybe, just maybe, they might film that production for dvd release, as was done with David Tennant’s Hamlet.  I can see Martin making an awesome Richard III.  Though the Daily Mail could have been a little more respectful in it’s headline announcing the news – “From Hobbit to Hunchback” struck me as a little demeaning to a wonderful actor.

And what do I find when I come online this morning?  I find that Benedict Cumberbatch is also playing Richard III.  This time it’s for BBC2’s “Shakespeare’s Histories” series.  Pretty sure they heard me screaming three suburbs away.

To have my favourite actors playing major roles in plays by my favourite playwright, is a pleasure I am not sure I can properly describe.  Shakepeare is magic.  The plays have delighted and captivated me since I was first introduced to them by my English teacher when I was 13.  He encouraged me to read them for pleasure, not just because I had to study them.  Mr Clarihew taught me to appreciate the language, the rhythm, and unfolded the treasures of the Bard before my delighted eyes.  George Clarihew gave me a jewel beyond price. 

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